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Middle East

Israel presses on with 6,000 settler homes


Israeli officials said yesterday that they are pressing on with plans to build 6,000 homes for settlers on land claimed by Palestinians, defying criticism from Western powers who fear the move will hit already faint hopes for peace.

Stung by the de facto recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in a UN General Assembly vote last month, Israel announced it would expand settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

A planning committee on Monday gave preliminary approval for 1,500 new homes, and it will now start discussing plans for another 4,500.